The challenges of the past, exacerbated by a continuing drought – for seven years, almost no rainfall has been recorded here – and the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19, have created an opportunity to buy out many of these last remaining livestock farms. Here in the pro-Namib landscape, which is well suited to environmental conservation and tourism, the new reserve will restore this land to nature.
The new NamibRand East Wilderness Reserve project (view Figure 1) builds on the vision of earlier philanthropists who created the NamibRand Reserve from 13 former livestock farms, which were united into one contiguous conservation area. The new reserve also reinforces a critical initiative of the Greater Sossusvlei-Namib Landscape Association – to open up the Namib Desert all the way to the Great Escarpment, creating a Fence-Free Namib. Funded in part with support from The Nature Conservancy, the Sossusvlei-Namib Landscape Association is committed to addressing imminent threats to habitat and species loss at a landscape level.
Neighbouring landowners have started to dismantle their border fencing in accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement, and this historic effort is opening corridors for wildlife to return once more to their traditional movement patterns.
To date, we have an agreement to buy three farms – one of which includes a key wildlife corridor link to NamibRand. We are in negotiations for several other properties. The NamibRand East Wilderness Reserve map (Figure 2) shows the ideal total extent of the proposed new reserve.
The NamibRand Conservation Trust
The NamibRand Conservation Trust was established in March 2020 in order to facilitate the acquisition of land for conservation and to raise funds for the Environment.